What 1911 to get...Will be my 1st!...Need THR's help!


October 21, 2006, 01:34 AM
Hey gang,

I know this thread has been done probably a 1000 times, so I apologize in advance.

I tried running a search on this topic, but I don't have 3 years to read them all :neener: .

I have had many pistols over the years, but I consider myself to be 1911 stupid, so I need some help.

I am 6'3", 210 lbs, medium frame...I tried a few of these on for size today and found I can conceal a Government size (the big one :o ) IWB just fine but I am not against the commander or service size (smaller ones). I hope I got those right.

It will be used for the range, home defense and carry piece when dress allows.

So vote on which one should be my 1st!

Don't worry about price, all of these fall into my price range, but please try to balance quality with the price of each gun and please let me know if some of these are overpriced.

All of these guns are pre-owned and in at least 98% condition and come with a lifetime warranty from the gun shop (gunsmith on site!).

Thanks in advance!

Please vote based on quality and price.

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October 21, 2006, 01:46 AM
1st off, I prefer steel framed 1911's w/ fullsize grips. So, I'd look at a govt' model or a commander model. You'd end up w/ good to very good sight radius w/ 4" or 5" barrel. The smaller sizes - ie. Officer's model - might be a tad too small (IMHO) and I've read a few too many reviews on smaller 1911's to be sold on the tiny 1911s

October 21, 2006, 02:31 AM
Smith and Wesson 1911... full size if you can conceal it, scandium if you want.
They are pretty much 100% right out of the box from all the reports I've heard. A S&W 1911 was the first 1911 I ever shot, and still my favorite. I've shot kimbers, good shooting guns, liked the Smith better.
Best advice I can give you though is "Rent, rent, rent some more, the 100$ you spend renting and trying guns will give you a priceless amount of satisfaction that you did, indeed, get what was best for you."~Nathan

Ala Dan
October 21, 2006, 07:27 AM
Les Baer Thunder Ranch Special 1911

You won't need any other~!:D

Vitamin G
October 21, 2006, 07:38 AM
Don't overlook the new Taurus... I havn't shot one, but i've heard nothing but good things, and they run about $450.

Cousin Mike
October 21, 2006, 08:03 AM
I'll endorse a Wilson Combat, if you have the money.

FWIW, I've never had the pleasure of shooting a Les Baer, or most other custom 1911's - but recently in a class I took I got the chance to shoot a Wilson quite extensively.. Oh man!

I've never had to try so hard to fight the urge to come home, and throw my 1911 in the trash. :D

If you've got about $2100 to spend, you can have one of these amazing pistols. If you're working with a little less than that, there are plenty of 1911's out there that are probably just as good, I'm sure... Just don't get a GI model, unless you know for a FACT that you really want one. Also, a full size 1911 is not hard to conceal - especially for a fella your size (about 2 inches taller and 20lbs. lighter than me :D).

That's my advice... worth every cent you paid for it, I believe. :)

October 21, 2006, 08:37 AM
If money is no object, relatively speaking, I second the Les Baer Thunder Ranch Special. Or the Smith & Wesson PC 1911 Melonite.

If you are on a budget and want to stay under $1000, then my choice would be the Smith & Wesson 1911 PD Tac Rail in Melonite.


October 21, 2006, 09:11 AM
All of the guns listed will preform well for you. If this is your first 1911 I voted for the SA. I love the looks of the Kimber eclipse II but other than that the SA will perform as well as any kimber so if you like it buy it. I am not a fan of the external extractors so I stay away from any 1911 using them.

October 21, 2006, 09:12 AM
Sig Arms GSR 5" Stainless, rail, case, papers $999.00 = Overpriced for a used gun. I saw the same gun at a gun show last week for $750.

Kimber Stainless Gold Match, 5", Case and 2 magazines $999.00 = Again, overpriced.

Kimber PRO TLE/RL II, 3 1/2", tac rail, night sights, 2 mags, box, papers, $939.00 = Overpriced

Kimber Eclipse Pro II, 4",stainless, match trigger, night sights, hogue grips $899.00 = Almost right, but a bit high still.

Kimber Custom II, $799.00 = Overpriced. If it was not a Series II it might be close....

Para-Ordnance P13, case, $699.00 = No.

Springfield 1911 A1, 5", Stainless, Case, 2 magazines, papers $599.00 = Which Springfield? If a Mil-Spec, it's overpriced. If a Loaded, it's a fair but not a good price.

I'd say shop around a bit. This gun shop is running high on their prices IMHO. I would advise you to buy a Springfield GI45 for $500 total and shoot it for six to 12 months. Get used to the 1911 platform. Let it teach you what you want/need. Then sell it for $400, having invested $100 in good research and a lot of fun, and do some knowledgeable shopping. Once you know for yourself, from having used the 1911 platform yourself, you can better judge which gun meets your needs. If there are none on the market that meets your specific needs, you can order one up that does, or build it yourself. When it comes to which 1911 is best for you, that will work a lot better than a poll of anonymous internet users.

October 21, 2006, 09:19 AM
I appreciate all the responses!

XavierBreath, that was EXACTLY what I was looking for!

I ususally get a $50.00 to $100.00 frequent buyer discount from the guy I deal with, that may make the prices a little more competitive, and I do believe the free gunsmith on site is worth a small amount of $$$.

I will make sure I check out our Saxet gunshow at the end of the month before buying.

Thanks again for the suggestions and keep 'em coming!


.357 magnum
October 21, 2006, 09:30 AM
I have been looking at the 1911 for a while wanting one myself. Considering price, overall quality and needs. I am going to try the Taurus. It gets great reviews and I can get one here for 480.00 I know there will be a host of people that will question the quality of Taurus. I have found them to be one hell of a gun mfg. Check out their new tactical area of their website. I intend to get their new 24/7 SOCOM when it comes out also. I have several of thier 24/7 pistols currently. Very dependable, accurate and have features many expensive pistols do not offer. Really like their .40 cals in the 24/7 I am also a big .45 fan so Taurus fits quite a few of my needs. I have a couple of Sprinfield offerings in the .45 [xd service model and tactical] Springfield is also one of my choices. Great price and product with Springfield also. I really want to get the most for my dollar and not spare quality.

The Best to you and yours!




larry starling
October 21, 2006, 09:52 AM
COLT any Government model they make..After more than 90 years, it's still "the standard" everyone else imitates, but no one duplicates. Buy the real deal avoid copys......:evil:

October 21, 2006, 09:59 AM
The Taurus has a few things that I just wouldn't care for on a 1911, like full length guide rod and ambi safety. Personally I fell in love with the Springfield Armory custom model the FBI uses as it's HRT sidearm. (You know, the one in the gun magazines saying "You may never have to breach an entry to end a six hour hostage standoff... but your Springfield has." The one under that ad!):D

In your list, I'd go with the SIGARMS, without a doubt.

October 21, 2006, 10:00 AM
Les Baer Thunder Ranch Special 1911



October 21, 2006, 10:14 AM
If you can afford it a Baer is the way to go in a production 1911. I would buy the Premier II though instead of the TR model personally.

October 21, 2006, 10:50 AM
Les Baer Thunder Ranch Special 1911
You won't need any other!

Amen on the Thunder Ranch! I have a TR and it has been 100% reliable and shoots one hole groups at combat distances of 7-10 yards, and this is without the 1.5" at 50 yards accurizing package. It is the most accurate handgun I have ever owned or fired.

Here are the most affordable Baer 1911 options:

Concept I blue (5") $1525
Concept II blue (5") $1525
Premier II blue (5") $1598
Stinger blue (Officer's size frame, Commander size slide) $1666
Stinger stainless (same as above) $1675
Concept VII blue (4.25") $1699
Concept VIII stainless (4.25") $1740
Thunder Ranch (5") $1748

Yes, Baers cost more than Kimbers, Colts, Springfields, Paras, etc. but they are an entirely different breed of gun; they stand head and sholders above the assembly line guns. You won't get the kind of workmanship, accuracy and reliability Baer 1911s have in any production gun.

IMHO, if there's any possible way to afford a Baer, there is no other chioce. If you invest in a Baer 1911, you will never regret it!

October 21, 2006, 10:54 AM
Colt (http://www.coltsmfg.com/cmci/pistols.asp), new Series 70 or a 1991A1. Seems like every other company has adopted the front slide serrations and Colt has stayed with a clean slide.

Ohen Cepel
October 21, 2006, 10:59 AM
Of the options I think the Springfield is the best bang for the buck.

I'm not a fan of short 1911 though so that ruled out several of them for me.

October 21, 2006, 11:03 AM
hey if price is no problem GO KIMBER you wont be sorry. the accuracy of these pistols is unreal and company service is first rate. the short barrelled 1911's can be real whippy in the hands. i'd go full size for an all purpose 1911. para ordnance would be a close second.

October 21, 2006, 11:15 AM
A Dan Wesson PM7 is a great gun, much nicer than some listed and is in your price range. A Razorback would also be a great choice. You should at least look at them before you make a decision.

1911 guy
October 21, 2006, 12:02 PM
Kimbers are good pistols, just overpriced for what you get. Para has a good reputation from most, but parts are different from other 1911 makers. Proprietary stuff only from them and through Brownells. The Sig is a nice handgun, but finding holsters to fit both a railed gun and also you limits your choices somewhat. I'd take a long look at Springfield, check out everything from a parkerized G.I. model to the "all bells and whistles included" model to see what you like. They have, without a doubt, the highest quality frame on the current market.

October 21, 2006, 12:07 PM

October 21, 2006, 12:08 PM
For ~$1,000 budget, I would buy a used Les Baer in lieu of any listed in the poll. I've had a bunch of 1911's/2011's and the Baer's are 100% reliable and super accurate. With other brands I experienced MIM parts breaking and reliability issues that gave me a constant headache.

highlander 5
October 21, 2006, 12:25 PM
+1 S&W 1911 or Para have both para is commander style single stack both are stainless steel

October 21, 2006, 12:33 PM
Other! I'd look at the Dan Wesson Pointman Seven,or the Commander Bobtail(C-BOB). The Kimber Classic and standard TLE are also good values...there's dozens of models and configurations out there,you really can't go wrong with any of the major brands. Basically you need to shop around and find the one you want, rent or borrow the ones you like if you can. Trusting an internet poll is probably not the best way to go,after all,"Other" is the winner so far:) .

October 21, 2006, 12:37 PM
Kimber TLE full size without the rail.

October 21, 2006, 01:22 PM
I'm currently looking at the Dan Wesson Pointman Seven. Ive compared them to Kimber's and smiths in a similer price range and I find them to be the superior gun.

Chuck R.
October 21, 2006, 01:30 PM
After 6 Colt 1911s I now own 2 Baers, a Concept V for the range and a Stinger for CCW.

If you're thinking of going to the $1000 mark, just push the envelope get a Baer, and be done with it. Lie to your wife, pawn your dog, or sell an organ. There's no tweaking, or parts swapping to be done.

It will be tight at first, but a couple of 1000 rounds later it will be like glass on glass. My Concept V is just shy of the 10K mark and it just keeps getting better, still no rattles, and utterly reliable. My Gold Cup is still accurate, but has loosened up over the years just as my other Colts did.

Bite the bullet, get a Baer, you won't be disappointed.


October 21, 2006, 05:51 PM
If you are looking at a production gun get the Para SSP. Aside from the PXT Extractor which is huge, works and a major improvement over the old style, ALL parts are interchangeable with any other 1911 part, as much as parts are drop in on the 1911's.

Baer certainly can be a winner at that price point as well as Wilson Combat and a few other semi-custom 1911's. I would read some of the 1911 Forum threads on both before I laid down my cash. They will speak to customer service, warranty and problem issues that might be of interest. Both Colt and Kimber are not worth the extra cost over a Sprnger or Para IMHO. Particularily the Colt. You pay for that Pony on the slide and don't get much back for it.

Take Care


October 21, 2006, 06:03 PM
Les Baer is the way to go but if you want a decent 1911 get the springfield commander, the mil spec is not the one you want the ejection port is to small in my opinion.

October 21, 2006, 06:42 PM
I think the best move is to decide which 1911, then worry about price. The pistols you've listed all run in the roughly $800 to $1000+ street price range. Read up here, read up at the m1911.org forums, and go to a gun store to handle them. See which one you like best/want most and then start shopping for the best price on it.

October 21, 2006, 08:43 PM
You want reliablility and durability first. Springfield GI and Milspec does that. If you want to play race gun then go for the others. Go for the 5" guns first. Stay away from the compacts.

October 21, 2006, 09:09 PM
I've heard nothing but good things about Smith & Wesson 1911's... S&W is relatively new to 1911's but is probably worth a look.

October 21, 2006, 10:46 PM
Being somewhat ignorant can somewhat tell me the definition of a "race gun"


October 21, 2006, 11:52 PM

As usual THR comes through.

I definately have A LOT to think about now.

FWIW, most of the 1911's I have held have ALL felt fine in my hand and I was happy to see I could carry a full size IWB no problem.

I think the final choice will come down to a balance of looks, price and reputation. I am going to go spend some time searching the 1911 forums to see what is good and what is bad.

I think for my 1st 1911, the Les Baer and Wilson Combats might be a little over the top. Went on Gun Broker and the cheapest Baer was $1400.00 and the cheapest Wilson was $1300.00 :what: . I fondled a Wilson at my shop and worked the slide...it felt like baby oiled covered ball bearings sliding over vaseline it was so smooth :D .

With that said, I think I have sorta whittled it down to (in no particular order)...

1. Springfield Loaded
2. S&W
3. Dan Wesson (I really like the looks of some of these)
4. Colt
5. Kimber (for the right price)

Most of these can be found on Gun Broker for between $500 and $900 with several different models to choose from. I am definately going to get at least a 4" barrel and stainless (has to look good for carry :neener: )

I have a gun show coming up next weekend and hopefully there will be lots of different examples of 1911's to fondle.

Thanks again for all the replies, and keep 'em coming!


October 22, 2006, 12:14 AM
One place to start


October 22, 2006, 01:00 AM
Thanks for the link snagglepuss.

I'm sure there will be more information I could ever want on that site.:what:

October 22, 2006, 10:01 AM
Being somewhat ignorant can somewhat tell me the definition of a "race gun"


November 9, 2006, 02:07 AM
I think Mr Browning just turned over in his grave....

November 9, 2006, 03:41 AM
I myself am a heavy favorite of the Kimber Custom II or anything Kimber makies reall, but I also really like the Springfields.

November 9, 2006, 07:32 AM
...taking note of MostToysWins location, I predict best "bang for buck" in 1911s will be found two hours due North on 35.


Heck, you could even stop in Georgetown on the way.

Pack a picnic basket.

.45 AUTO
November 9, 2006, 09:15 AM
I would still go with the SpringField Amory, I would get the plain Jane "GI" parkerized for about $100 or so less money.

November 9, 2006, 09:28 AM
All of those guns listed are very nice choices. :)
I however enjoy my stainless S&W 1911. Never had any problem with it and it is dead on accurate.(Even if I'm not!):eek:
I don't know how hell bent you are on getting a 1911, but if you have any doubts, you could also consider a Rock Island Armory 1911. Mine is pretty accurate, and no problems. and VERY cheap!(Mine was new for $300.00.) It just isn't as dolled up as some of the other "nicer" guns.;)

November 9, 2006, 11:09 AM
+1 sw1911

November 9, 2006, 11:42 AM
I have had mine for many years now and I'm not sure of all the improvements that were made to it since it went through several owners. The Pachmayr grips provide a good solid hold, but look like S&*^. I want to install nice custom wood grain grips and have a guy in Norway working on them, but he needs to know so many things. The latch pin and safety on the left side of the gun seem to be a bugga boo, and I don't have any pictures here at work to send him.. When I take off the Pachmayr grips the plate with their name lifts out. It has the spring loaded pin coming out the front and back and seems to be held in place by the grips... This weekend I went to the local gunstore, and found the normal pin, but the guy said it would fall out unless the gunsmith hammered it in? I didn't like that idea.. especially since its huntin season and the guy said it would be ready in April or May.. any one have any pics they want to share?


November 9, 2006, 12:42 PM
IF I could have one, It would be a Springfield Armory Hi-cap long slide.

November 9, 2006, 01:28 PM
Here's mine

November 9, 2006, 02:29 PM
an earlier S&W Atomic symbol marked commander length Scandium frame
I am extremely pleased has fed all types of ammo, :
CORBON, Hornady TAP, Speer Gold Dot, POWRBall etc, no FTF, or FTE
I paid $779 in WA state.:D

November 9, 2006, 03:37 PM
NRM Colt. Best buy best gun, again. Then the Springfield loaded as next choice.

November 9, 2006, 09:16 PM
I got me a straight stock Kimber Custom II three weeks ago. My first 1911. Paid $669.00 plus sales tax. After one box of UMC .45, I am sold on my pick for a 1911. Fits and performs like it was made for my hands.

The Real Hawkeye
November 9, 2006, 09:19 PM
Smith & Wesson is making some of the most reliable out of the box 1911s out there today. Yes, it does have a couple of features that are not strictly John Browning, but they will shoot.

November 9, 2006, 09:27 PM
If money isn't an issue i would suggset the sig 1911, have you seen the reviews on these things? they are amazing.

but for someone like me where money is an issue i would, go with "other" because i would go with the Taurus pt1911, great value.

The Real Hawkeye
November 9, 2006, 09:33 PM
Looking for a great value, go with the High Standard 1911A1. American Handgunner rates it better than the Springfield Armory GI, but can be had new for $360.

November 10, 2006, 08:41 AM
I just thought I purchased a Springfield 1911 but after reading through all these threads, now I'm not so sure... Can anyone tell from the picture I posted back 2 or three responses what I have? I know it had Pachmayr grips installed, but there seem to be some other mods that are not Mil Spec...

All I know is that I had a Paraguain 9mm that I bought used for about 200 bucks, and a friend I was shooting with was always complaining about the kick of his .45 and how inaccurate it was.. we went to the range, and I liked the way it felt.. I let him shoot my 9 mm and he asked if I wanted to swap... end of deal... I don't think I went wrong... this was about 15 years ago.

PS I find it accurate out to 50 yards.


November 10, 2006, 09:08 AM
Something like a LOADED PX9151L Springfield.

Usually in the low $700's


November 10, 2006, 10:57 PM
Franco, you have what appears to be a modified Springfield Mil-Spec.

Here's my modified Mil-Spec.


November 11, 2006, 12:13 AM
Colt Commander perfect carry 1911 Besides its a COLT.

November 11, 2006, 12:17 AM
Colt Commander perfect carry 1911 Besides its a COLT.

Yeah, judging from the guns in your signature I can tell your opinion is VERY objective. :neener:

November 11, 2006, 12:34 PM
I'd say for a basic loaded gun you can't go wrong with the Springfield Loaded models.

If you don't mind the external extractor then a S&W would be great first gun too.

I'm looking to get back in the 1911 game some time next year and I'm really thinking about spending a little more and getting a STI Trojan or possibly a Ranger.




November 11, 2006, 01:47 PM
I just finished my CCW course and the instructor and I were comparing Kimbers - I had CDP Pro and he had a Warrior which was fitted with an extended mag well and Hogue grips.

This was the second time out with my CDP Pro and rounds #51-100 for the pistol. I qual'd ~ 3" at 7 yds rapid fire center of mass for 50 rounds. Still working on the grip, but the pistol functioned 100% (yes, an internal extractor) and was very controllable. It is my carry weapon - the only thing I may consider is a different grip than the factory woodies.

The instructor liked the results and offered me a chance to shoot his Warrior. I tore out the 1" X-ring with 8 shots. We were both pretty amazed. His Warrior was a tack driver. Now I have to figure out how I'm going to pay for one!


November 12, 2006, 12:05 AM
Im 22 and the first handgun i bought was a 1911 Government made by Firestorm. I could not afford to get a Kimber even though everybody i asked suggested i got one. So i had my fingers crossed at the reliability of the pistol and to this day it has not given my one single problem and i have put about 4,000 rounds of Wolf ammo through it. i got it for self defense and you most likely wont be shooting at someone farther than 10 feet (dont quote me). so i guess what im saying is get whatever 1911 you want.

November 12, 2006, 12:10 AM
another note: I go outdoors quite a bit and i take my 1911. Since it is not a Kimber i am not afraid to bang it around and scratch it up. I mentioned i shoot Wolf ammo through it and i would not shoot that ammo through a finely made 1911. Just another thought to add.

November 12, 2006, 12:25 AM
I think Mr Browning just turned over in his grave....


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